Picks and Pans Review: The English Pub
Englishmen visiting the U.S. have been known to drive themselves to distraction trying to find a pub. There's really nothing stateside that comes close. New York City has a few neighborhood bars that may bear some resemblance to a pub, but the phenomenon is strictly British, as this book charmingly illustrates. The authors say that more than 85 percent of England's 70,000 pubs are owned by breweries, so it's natural that they should include a chapter on how beer is made. Then varying architectural styles are shown—many pubs began life as extensions onto private homes, which helps account for some of their coziness. Since there are no franchises, no two pubs are ever alike. Yes, some pubs have been known to feature dart games. The names of the places roll off the tongue, and the accompanying paintings on the signs cannot help but stir a thirst. The Farmers Boy shows a lad riding on a hay wagon; The Labouring Man has a shirt-sleeved worker at an anvil; Three Mariners has three generations on a dock with a toy sailboat; Volunteer Inn has a soldier at parade rest. The most popular name would appear to be Nag's Head. There are four of those mentioned. Three have horses painted on the signs, and one has a screaming woman. The book winds up with a few recipes for such pub dishes as Bubble and Squeak (onion, potato, cabbage and sprouts) and something that is called Angels on Horseback (oysters wrapped in bacon on toast). Just a Guinness, please, sir, (Viking, $25)
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